(*Undated but in portion dealing with Summer of 1943)
I had a great find today. In other, happier days the arrival of a mail boat with new magazines was a wonderful event. Well, I had a new magazine today. Somehow a Harper’s for September, 1941, turned up in a bag of mine, unopened. There was a fine article about the Swiss. I could tell them some pretty tales about Swiss in Manila, and the twenty to forty per cent interest they charged a good many people on loans. There was a good article about the trials and tribulations of an American passport, and an article about alcoholics. Too late for us now! The finest cure in the world for alcoholism was discovered, nay, forced upon Manila when internment arrived. All the bottle-a-day lads in Santo Tomas seem to be doing pretty well without alcohol. They’ve lost weight, but many of them feel better without it. I still drink rum. My credit with Elizaldes seems to be good, so far.
The most interesting article in the magazine was the announcement of a prize contest for war experiences.
But the contest time limit was July, 1942.
Just then we were getting buckled down to a long war here. Corregidor had fallen, the last troops had surrendered in North Luzon in June, the guerrillas were back in the hills, laying plans. Java, Hong Kong, Burma, all were lost. Prisoners were dying like flies from ill-treatment and starvation. Most any of them or us could write quite a lot about war experiences; but the mail service wasn’t—still isn’t—so good! So that time limit stymied any would-be war experience raconteur.